Frances Benjamin Johnston: America’s First Female Photojournalist
A Kodak camera received as a gift from family friend George Eastman set Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952) on an acclaimed photojournalism career. From her studio behind the family home at 1332 V Street, NW, Johnston captured Gilded Age America in all its splendid diversity. Black educator Booker T. Washington and his Tuskegee students; US Navy sailors serving alongside Admiral George Dewey; Black and White D.C. schoolchildren modeling the progressive education movement; Humorist Mark Twain in his iconic white linen suit; Suffragist Susan B. Anthony and Society Hostess Alice Roosevelt Longworth; and Presidential families extending from Benjamin Harrison to William Howard Taft. A professional and personal intimacy with architectural photographer Mattie Edwards Hewitt launched a mid-career focus on houses and gardens, including D.C. sites like
- The Causeway (aka Tregaron);
- the Townsend House (aka Cosmos Club).
Johnston's work culminated in a ground-breaking historic building survey of the American South commissioned by the Carnegie Corporation for the benefit of the Library of Congress.
Host: Carolyn Crouch, Founder, Washington Walks